John McCarthy

Educator and life long learner. Exploring the many ways to advocate for student voice in their learning career. Passions: my family, writing, teaching, and gaming. Blog: Blog:

Most commented posts

  1. Rebutting Misconceptions about Differentiated Instruction — 7 comments
  2. Inspiring the Writer in everyone — 7 comments
  3. Learning Preferences Cards — 5 comments
  4. Student Learning Preferences Quick Surveys — 4 comments
  5. Education is like Yoga III: Starting School Right — 3 comments

Author's posts

New article on Edutopia – Eliminating the Checklist Mentality

This recent article on Edutopia: Quality Instruction + Differentiation: Beyond the Checklist addresses concrete actions that help teachers know what students need. In part, this is accomplished by enabling learners to collaborate in the instructional experience. Three specific strategies are shared, one of which connects to the Need to Know process discussed in a previous post on …

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Need to Know Process for PBL & quality Units

Updated: June 16, 2016 I’d like to thank Myla Lee for her collaborative feedback so as to ensure that this description of using Need to Knows becomes as effective a support for all grade levels. Follow her on Twitter: @MyTLee3 and myself at: @JMcCarthyEdS Need to Know Process Have you ever asked students if they have any questions, …

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Read on Edutopia: Differentiation Is Just Too Difficult – Not?: Myth-Busting DI Part 3

What inspired this article recently published on Edutopia (see link near the end) are the conversations I’ve had with others over recent posts that attack Differentiated Instruction as something either too difficult to do or simply not worth trying. See my article: Rebutting Misconceptions about Differentiated Instruction here on Opening Paths. Such conversations might sound like banging one’s …

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MLK: Reflecting & Acting on the Dream

There is much meeting for this day, that represents a way of life and action year round. Starting with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. here are words from him and others to reflect on and consider. There are videos of MLK speeches at the end of this post. Consider choosing some of these quotes or …

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Rebutting Misconceptions about Differentiated Instruction

How do I meet the needs of my students when their skill levels are across the board? Some variation of this question consistently comes up when I coach educators on curriculum implementation such as Project Based Learning or writing strategies. Educators want and need an answer that guides them to taking the first steps towards …

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PLN Resources for a New Year

As we launch ourselves into a new year, which is really the middle of the current school year, here are some resources that helps to grow a PLN. The work of teaching is on-going, and a big part of it is deepening our own learning. Here are some places that can open doors to a …

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4 unit Guidelines toward Meaningful Audience Purpose

A good Project-Based Learning unit experience provides students with an opportunity to make an impact on a community, person, or organization. It’s real–goes beyond the world known as “school.” While this idea has resonance for many educators it’s often felt as an abstract concept. How do teachers consistently bring about an authentic purpose that will …

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Mentoring makes Everyone Better

Throughout my career I’ve been blessed with people who’ve taken me under their wing to guide, advise, and develop. The experiences are eye-opening and humbling. I’m constantly reminded that, to paraphrase Socrates, there is much that I don’t know that I don’t know. Throughout my career, I take opportunities to pay forward the gifts my …

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RAFTs – Engaging to Differentiating Writer’s Voice

In a previous series of posts I wrote about RAFTs, a powerful strategy that engages students into writing, a means to coach students to improve writing, and an approach that when differentiated helps students at varying skills to success at a respectful pace. By popular demand, what follows are all 3 articles in one blog …

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Game ON – How kids want to learn

Game ON – How kids want to learn by John McCarthy, Ed.S. This past spring my two teenagers got me involved in playing Clash of Clans. It’s a game played on smart phones and tablets. It’s free, which is a major criteria for my cost-conscious kids, followed by if it captures their attention. Clash of …

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